GM Invests in STEM Education to Boost Women in Tech

Monica Eaton-Cardone, IT executive, discusses the move by General Motors to increase women in tech.

General Motors Co. (GM) recently announced that it would contribute more than $850,000 to four nonprofits to help prepare young women and minorities for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.(1) With this pledge, GM’s total investment in STEM education will exceed $10 million by year end.(2) Monica Eaton-Cardone, an IT executive specializing in risk management and fraud prevention, commends the automotive leader and calls for other firms to undertake their own efforts to help increase the number of women in technology professions.

GM’s latest investment was announced by CEO Mary Barra, who explained that the company intends to develop students’ and educators’ STEM capabilities.(2) As of 2015, America had roughly 500,000 open computing jobs but only 40,000 computer science graduates; meanwhile, the proportion of female computer science majors has fallen from 34% in 1984 to 18% last year.(3) “The need for coding and STEM degrees is increasing; and if we don’t reach women, we are not going to have the technical talent we need in the industry,” warned Barra.(3)

To boost the number of women in tech, GM has partnered with four new nonprofit organizations—Code.org, Black Girls Code, Institute of Play and Digital Promise—after announcing a partnership with Girls Who Code in January. GM is working with these groups to “drive transformative solutions” in immersive learning, computational thinking, artificial intelligence and digitization of education.(2) Other tech leaders are pursuing similar goals. Cyber-security firm Symantec aims to engage 1 million students in STEM education by 2020, while enterprise-software company SAP has added “STEM inclusion” to its corporate strategy.(1)

“Encouraging women to pursue STEM careers and equipping them with relevant skills is vital to the success of the U.S. tech industry,” said Monica Eaton-Cardone, who serves as Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Global Risk Technologies and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Chargebacks911. “And as GM has demonstrated, the demand for engineers, coders and other IT professionals is not unique to tech firms….

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